Laine Cunningham

William Faulkner Society Blog

Press release for national book award for Laine Cunningham's debut novel. Nov 26, 2008

Hot on the heels of the hit film Australia comes an award-winning novel of loss, Aboriginal lives and suspense set in today’s Australian outback.

In 2002 and 2001, the novel The Family Made of Dust (formerly Message Stick) was a finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom competition. The book also won the James Jones Literary Society Award and the Hackney Literary Award. Creation of the novel was supported by two grants from the Jerome Foundation and residencies at the New York Mills Cultural Center and the Cornucopia Arts Center.

The Family Made of Dust is a modern tale of brothers lost and found. Movie fans who enjoy the Aboriginal touches in Australia will find similar elements in The Family Made of Dust. Since the main characters were both products of the government’s assimilation policy, a program that removed biracial and light-skinned Aboriginal children from their biological families, the wrenching exploitation of each man is front and center. The mystical elements of the shamans’ knowledge are woven throughout the book along with traditional Dreamtime tales.

For more on this book, visit Author Laine Cunningham spent six months camping alone in the Australian outback. She hiked the rugged terrain, cooked over an open fire, and learned to play the didgeridoo. The spirits of the land spoke to her as she met Australians from every walk of life. Each of her novels weaves the beliefs and cultural norms of different peoples into modern plotlines. Her next book, due out in February of 2009, details the ancient lessons Dreamtime tales offer modern people from every nation.